Posted By Eric Ethington (Author) on July 2, 2011
Utah – State House Speaker Becky Lockhart published on op-ed yesterday on immigration reform, doing her best to divert the anger of Tea Party delegates away from herself and back towards Utah’s Federal delegation. Think it will work?
On June 18th at the Utah Republican Convention, Tea Party activist delegates over-threw the will of the mainstream Republicans (not to mention the will of the LDS church) and narrowly passed a resolution calling for the repeal of HB 116, calling it “amnesty” for illegal immigrants.
The tone is clear, moderate solutions have no place in the new extreme-right Republican Party in Utah. It was a move which frightened many of the Republican Legislators, who worry that anger over their slate of immigration bills passed during the 2011 legislative session could earn them an exit-ticket during their next elections. Speaker Becky Lockhart is no exception, but rather than work to change the delegates mind, she’s beginning a campaign to shift blame over the bills away from the Utah Legislature, and focus it on our US Senators and Congresspeople.
Writing in the Daily Herald, Speaker Lockhart says:
This issue has now become so hot that Utah’s congressional delegation refuses to address it, despite some of them running for office on that very issue. It has become politically dangerous to propose solutions; it is safer to throw rocks at those who do.
She goes on to list each of them personally, mentioning that Matheson has only 4 lines about immigration on his website, Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch have dismissed the issue, Chaffetz is calling the Utah laws ‘unconstitutional’ and Bishop hasn’t said a word. For good measure, she also paints the Legislature as the heroes of “industry” who gosh-darn-it were forced to act by inaction of Congress and the US Senate.
It’s not my fault it’s not my fault it’s not my fault it’s not my fault
It’s a sly little game, because on one hand Lockhart is actually right: Immigration Reform is a federal issue and it is enormously alarming that the Federal bodies seem been incapable of passing any legislation to deal with the issue (why the hell didn’t the Dream Act pass??).
But the game remains as simple as ever: something was passed by the Utah Republican-dominated Legislature that voters don’t like? Blame someone else. Don’t forget HB 477, Republicans are still trying to blame anyone they can think of. You’ve even got Carl Wimmer, one of the original sponsors and lead-fighters for the bill, trying to re-brand himself as the hero who led the repeal effort (yeah.. good luck convincing people of that Carl).
The lesson learned? Mainstream folks who still believe in principles like “being kind to your neighbors” and “moderation in all things” are no longer welcome in the Republican Party. Expect to see the GOP Legislators swing more towards the attitudes of LaVar Christensen and Carl Wimmer rather than back towards people who actually make sense and work for the interest of the people.